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Eyewitness to Genocide: The Operation Reinhard Death Camp Trials, 1955-1966

Condition: BRAND NEW
ISBN: 9781621902621
Author(s): Michael S. Bryant
Format: Paperback
Year: 2016
Publisher: Univ Tennessee Press
Dimensions: 152 x 20 x 229 (w x l x h)
Pages: 277
Series: Legacies of War

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Description:
One of the deadliest phases of the Holocaust, the Nazi regime's 'Operation Reinhard' produced three major death camps-Belzec, Treblinka, and Sobibor-which claimed the lives of 1.8 million Jews. In the 1960s, a small measure of justice came for those victims when a score of defendants who had been officers and guards at the camps were convicted of war crimes in West German courts. The conviction rates varied, however. While all but one of fourteen Treblinka defendants were convicted, half of the twelve Sobibor defendants escaped punishment, and only one of eight Belzec defendants was convicted. Also, despite the enormity of the crimes, the sentences were light in many cases, amounting to only a few years in prison. In this meticulous history of the Operation Reinhard trials, Michael S. Bryant examines a disturbing question: Did compromised jurists engineer acquittals or lenient punishments for proven killers? Drawing on rarely studied archival sources, Bryant concludes that the trial judges acted in good faith within the bounds of West German law. The key to successful prosecutions was eyewitness testimony.
At Belzec, the near-total efficiency of the Nazi death machine meant that only one survivor could be found to testify. At Treblinka and Sobibor, however, prisoner revolts had resulted in a number of survivors who could give firsthand accounts of specific atro
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